AmCham held its monthly Luncheon at the Westin Dhaka.
Our November 2022 Luncheon was organized with the Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture Dr. Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, M.P., that took place in the Westin Hotel Dhaka on Wednesday, 20th November at 12.30 pm. The Guest of Honor, spoke on “Food safety and export opportunity towards USA” while Mr. Syed Ershad Ahmed, The President – AmCham, presided the program.
AmCham President in his welcome remarks shared his concern about Bangladesh’s food safety, hygiene and administration are yet to reach the mark due to various factors, including the general lack of resources, technical capabilities and coordination among the multiple agencies involved.
He said – “An efficient food safety surveillance and control system in the country is needed to address the food safety risks arising through domestic, import, and export channels. Owing to high population density and underdeveloped infrastructure, the incidence of foodborne diseases and other food safety risks is quite high in Bangladesh. This problem persists throughout the food chain due to food adulteration, pesticide residues, and microbiological contamination, among other challenges. However, in recent years, Bangladesh has taken great strides to improve its regulatory systems for food safety to improve market access and participation in the international trading system, but also improve access to safe food for local consumers.
While we are celebrating 50th anniversary of Bangladesh, we have made tremendous Economic development during this period where our export basket specially RMG played the vital role beyond any question. However, it is very important to determine which other sectors outside RMG can be exploited to harness this potential and diversify to sustain the momentum going forward. Another matter of concern is the overdependence of the whole textile industry on imported raw materials. “Agriculture should be given extra benefits for attracting both domestic and foreign investment”, he added.
Hon’ble Minister said Bangladesh has made significant progress in attaining food safety and security in recent years, better than many of its Asian counterparts. Moreover, the annual sale of processed food in Bangladesh reached $2.5 billion in 2019 and was growing at an average of 8 percent per year, he said. As the drive for economy and export diversification intensifies in Bangladesh, agriculture is likely to undergo a transformation as the fourth industrial revolution-focused technologies such as robotics, remote sensing, big data analytics, blockchain and global positioning system are embraced, he added.
AmCham President Syed Ershad Ahmed said it was a matter of grave concern that Bangladesh’s food safety hygiene and administration were yet to be of an international standard.
Agricultural Attaché US Embassy Dhaka Ms. Megan Francic said Bangladesh needs more mechanization in the agriculture sector. Attention should be paid to making safe food, along with adding more high-value products, she said. Abdul Monem Limited Managing Director Mr. Mainuddin Monem said the government should build cold storage facilities at the root level to preserve agricultural products.
Mr. Syed Mohammad Kamal, Vice President – AmCham & Country Manager, Mastercard – Bangladesh offered the vote of thanks. A good number of AmCham members including the Executive Committee Members, former presidents, foreign dignitaries, government bodies’ representatives, business leaders, civil society members, media representatives and other distinguished guests attended the event.